Don't be evil is Google's corporate motto, and a very good one. Google aspires to be a different kind of corporation, and it's taking the heat for it. The Bush reich wants Google's "honey pot" of high-quality, comprehensive information, and Wall Street wants to knock it down to size for thinking it can be different. It stumbled on predicted earnings this quarter and got a little taste. We'll see how long they hold out on keeping their materials private. Sasa Zorovic, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. confidently predicts, "At some point Google will be humbled."
And that's what happens when you go public. Every time. Cause and effect. The market system is designed to produce a reliable result""profitability""every time, regardless of the human or environmental cost. There is no way to be a publicly traded corporation and remain free to be moral. Evil isn't optional. (On the other hand, the truly evil, real black holes, are also privately held; I'm thinking Carlyle Group.)
The Democratic Party has undergone the same process. As Jeff Faux points out in his wonderfully lucid article in The Nation, "The Party of Davos," under Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party slipped its New Deal moorings and became "the party of Davos,"""i.e., globalization. It explains so much that it's worth quoting Faux at some length:
That the global economy is developing a global ruling class should come as no shock. All markets generate economic class differences. In stable, self-contained national economies, where capital and labor need each other, political bargaining produces a social contract that allows enough wealth to trickle down from the top to keep the majority loyal. . . .
But as domestic markets become global, investors increasingly find workers, customers and business partners almost anywhere. Not surprisingly, they have come to share more economic interests with their peers in other countries than with people who simply have the same nationality. They also share a common interest in escaping the restrictions of their domestic social contracts. . . .
[A]s Renato Ruggiero, the first director-general of the World Trade Organization, noted in a rare moment of candor, "We are no longer writing the rules of interaction among separate national economies. We are writing the constitution of a single global economy." (Emphasis added.) . . .It is therefore no surprise that the constitution of the world economy protects just one class of citizen""the corporate investor. . . .
. . . the model for this constitution is the North American Free Trade Agreement, conceived under Ronald Reagan, nurtured by George H. W. Bush and delivered by Bill Clinton. Among other things, NAFTA's 1,000-plus pages give international investors extraordinary rights to override government protections of workers and the environment. It sets up secret panels, rife with conflicts of interest, to judge disputes from which there is no appeal. It makes virtually all nonmilitary government services subject to privatization and systematically undercuts the public sector's ability to regulate business. . . .
It's impossible to understand why Democratic Party leaders collaborated with Republicans to establish NAFTA unless reference is made to cross-border class interests. . . .
Clinton was more Davos than Democrat. Tutored by financier Robert Rubin . . . Clinton embraced a reactionary, pre-New Deal vision of a global future in which corporate investors were unregulated and the social contract was history. . . . "NAFTA happened," said the then-chairman of American Express, "because of the drive Bill Clinton gave it. He stood up against his two prime constituencies, labor and environment, to drive it home over their dead bodies."
We sold our soul to the devil. I say "we" because I was an enthusiastic Democrat then, and I went along with it. I believed in "winning in inches." I have come to realize, after years of falling for Clinton the way some people fell for Reagan, that the Dems are there to manage the left, not represent it.
The DLC is also carefully managing the new left on campus. The result, according to one student activist: "The right actually ends up looking cooler than the left. I don't know how this is possible, but it's true!" I don't know, could it possibly be because, "Some worry that the [student] organization, run in part by former Clinton administration officials, is more interested in promoting a centrist agenda than a strong, progressive alternative to the campus right."
To those who argue that we have to concentrate on the elections in 2006, I would point out that Democrats won the last two presidential elections, and quite possibly the 2002 midterms as well""and they still lost! John Kerry capitulated quickly and graciously, following Gore's example, not because he wanted to be thought of as a nice guy, but because it wouldn't be good for business. Not allowed.
In a recent article, Bernard Weiner addressed the issue squarely: do we continue to pressure the Dems and work within, or start a new party? For my own part, I can no longer support the Democratic Party. I have no interest in a Vichy government. I don't want to collaborate, but they obviously do, jumping up and applauding a dictator as he tells the nation during his State of the Union exactly why he's had to set aside our laws and constitution.
We need a total change of paradigm. Nothing else will do. It seems to me the one platform that unites most Americans, and most citizens of the world, is a Green platform. While we are being manipulated by images and bloodlust illusions from the past, the future is evaporating. 2005 was the warmest year since records started being kept about a hundred years ago. Five of the warmest years on record occurred in the past decade.
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